Maxine Gower, LCSW, NCPsyA - Boulder Psychotherapy


 
Psychotherapy in person, via skype, or by phone. Please email or call (303) 875-5046

Loss & Grief Counseling - Bereavement Counseling in Boulder

Grief is the natural and necessary response that we have to loss of persons, places or things that are precious or meaningful to us. Even though grieving is essential to get beyond loss, many avoid the grief process as if it were the plague. Some feel that if they allow themselves to feel grief and loss, it may never end.

Our culture has few rituals for dealing with grief. There is the funeral, the wake or "sitting shiva" etc. After those rituals are over, there is no organized, ongoing way to complete the grieving process.

Grief is the slow unraveling and relinquishing of attachments and connections that no longer exist. It is common for this process to go on for months or for the cycle of an entire year or more. Living through a year without someone, whether dead or alive, is marked on holidays, birthdays and other occasions by signs of grief.

If one allows oneself to register loss, then grief will set in and begin to run its course. When one allows time to feel all the feelings that accompany grief, which could include anger, fear, rejection and anxiety, etc., it is possible to move through the feelings and return to living one's life again. Having grieved, one might bring some of this experience back into a new phase of life with new perspectives and a sense of enrichment.

Grieving alone can be difficult and this is one reason why people try to avoid it. The feeling of loneliness can feel like too much to bear. Feelings of "being weak" or ashamed for not being able to "get on with life" can result in anxiety and/or depression. This is why some people turn to alcohol or compulsive work, or some distraction, so as not to face loss and grief. In extreme cases, the wish to die may arise because life without the person, place or thing no longer seems worth living. For most people, sharing their grief with another person helps them to heal more readily.

Grief requires time, attention to oneself and to some degree, withdrawal from the business of everyday life. There needs to be space for thoughts, feelings and self care which could include the help of others to support and witness the grieving process.

A therapeutic relationship can be as a sanctuary where one can feel seen, heard and understood. Facing the unknown, due to loss and bereavement, can feel daunting. The presence of a supportive and comforting person, trained in this work, can help one to move through grief, face the future and rebuild a life. I have 21 years of experience in counseling people who have experienced loss and grief of various sorts. Please contact me at my Boulder office if you would like to talk about grief or loss.

 

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